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What is the new look of an Enterprise Architect in the digital era?

July 19, 2017

 

Enterprise Architecture has been conceptually promoted using different terms and commonly associated to frameworks, models, tools, roadmaps and technologies. However, we would agree that despite any body of knowledge, Enterprise Architecture is a business-outcome-driven capability based on a strong practice and discipline. 

 

With the rapid growth of a digital economy, the architect role is booming and being promoted as a key asset in current digital and organisations that want to become digital. Nonetheless, Enterprise Architecture is not a position but an organizational structure role with several positions  to enable a business practice. Without a robust practice, strong capabilities, organizational structure, processes and skills, an Enterprise Architect won’t lead and deliver expected business value. 

 

Historically, the role of enterprise architect has been an executive-level advisor that manages an enterprise body of knowledge and drafts a conceptual blueprint to determine how an organisation can effectively achieve a future business purpose. For instance, the Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) had an incipient initiative to set a body of knowledge and scope base on four organisation-wide domains:

 

  • Business: functional building blocks of business

  • Applications: applications used to accomplish business functions

  • Data: collection of assets, facts, and figures needed to drive business

  • Infrastructure: underlying platforms that enable applications and business functions 

 

In the new digital economy era, the scope of enterprise architecture is changing and evolving.  In addition to TOGAF´s four domains, there are new domains of knowledge that will impact the extent and skills of enterprise architects. In digital ecosystems,  platforms and inherent layers are enabling the integration between on-premise and off-premise systems by means of bimodal architectures. In addition, new digital business models suggest an approach for human-centered experience and new user-interaction requirements. No doubts, a new look for the enterprise architect role is being shaped. From my point of view, the following four areas can elaborate  and provide a baseline for a renewed enterprise architecture role:  

 

1. Digital Business Architecture: new digital business models are transforming today´s organisations with help of technologies like IoT, Cloud, Mobility, Blockchain, Social & Big Data. This requires a new architectural vision to deal with other techniques like economics of connection and business architecture.

 

2. Service Platform Architecture: new integration architectures will created a point for value exchange through technology to allow the interaction between users and a common portfolio of services. These platforms will enable partnership and communities by the exchange of services.

 

3. Ecosystem Architecture: mapping interactions and relationships will be required to draft a  community of living businesses, people, products and services that together enable new organisations and business models. No sole organisation will defeat the success of the partnership of many.  

 

4. Human-Centered Design Architecture: new architecture will include situational adaptive behaviors that users may choose as consequence of new services. This will involve a close relationship with development teams and their agile deployment processes.

 

Author: Dr. Jorge Orozco Vargas

 

Opinions expressed in this article are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

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